dry fire practice

The Benefits Of Dry Firing for Gun Owners

Most of us are taught at some stage that dry firing is bad for firearms, that we should never do it. However, believe it or not, it may not actually be that bad and furthermore, it could be very beneficial for you to dry fire on a daily basis.

The adage that dry-firing is bad is based in a lot of reality, so don't go thinking that it's okay to make a pistol go "click" with reckless abandon. It behooves you to know when and how it's acceptable to do it.

The Dry Fire Myth Explained

dry fire benefits

Guns are machines, and how a machine works determines what you can and can't do with it. For instance, typical passenger cars aren't really optimized to hit 8,000 RPM or more; a Ferrari can and a Formula One car revs up to 18,000 RPM. Therefore, you probably shouldn't drive your Chevrolet or whatever like you're James Hunt, since it will probably explode. Well...a Chevrolet will in any case.

Partially, this rule comes from older firearms. It's kind of like the 3,000-mile oil change; it used to be the case, but modern cars can go much longer, especially with synthetic oils.

Older guns were somewhat more fragile than they are today. Dry fires could push the striker or firing pin into the frame. The parts may also be so brittle that not striking a bullet - which transfers energy into the primer rather than...nowhere - can stress, fracture or break internal components. It's the same reason you don't dry fire a bow.

Additionally, in rimfire guns like those in .22LR, the striker doesn't travel it's full length when fired. It stops somewhat short when it strikes the cartridge. If unblocked, the striker hits the top of the entrance of the chamber, which damages the striker. Thus, don't ever dry fire a rimfire gun.

Good Uses For Dry Fires

Naturally, there's no benefit (but possibly a drawback, depending on the gun involved) mechanically to dry firing a gun. Any benefits conferred by doing so is totally for the shooter, and at that, dry fire practice is actually invaluable.

Dry firing gets you used to the feel and pull of a trigger, which means that you'll be a better shooter once you actually insert ammunition. That will translate to better results at the range, which should translate to better results when you need to fire at a live target whether in the woods, the blind, or in defense of yourself. Hopefully the latter won't occur, but it's valuable to be practiced if it does. That's the entire reason a person would get a permit and carry ; it's better to have it and not need it than the alternative.

Shooting practice is invaluable, regardless of what type of firearm. Whether you take that as a handgun tip, rifle tip, shotgun tip, what have you; nothing replaces time at the range.

Additionally, dry fire shooting is a fantastic way to practice target acquisition. Acquiring the target is just as important as how you pull the trigger as, after all, you can't really put a bullet in something if you aren't aiming at it properly. The faster you can get the sights on something, the faster you can pull the trigger.

Again, this becomes highly valuable in shooting sports, hunting and personal defense. How many waterfowlers, upland bird and turkey hunters have missed because they couldn't get a bead on a duck, (duck) goose, pheasant, grouse or chukkar fast enough?

Same goes for big game hunters; shooting opportunities in some situations can be fleeting and the second or two before the game disappears is critical. The author has missed shooting opportunities on deer because they disappeared into cover before the cross-hairs were on target. Granted, in full disclosure, shots were taken by the author that missed due to the author's stupid impatience when he should have waited for a better shot, but such is buck fever and I'm taking pains to not have it happen again, okay?

Get Some Snap Caps

dry fire snap caps

One of the best accessories you can get, especially if you want to try some dry fire drills, is some snap caps. Snap caps, dummy bullets, dry fire bullets, whatever you want to call them, is a bullet specifically built for dry firing.

Usually, they're a plastic cartridge with a little spring inside, that's the right size to chamber in the pistol of your choice. You load it into the chamber and pull the trigger. Makes a nice little snap, hence "snap caps." They're pretty cheap, and they certainly remove any unease about mechanical damage from dry-firing.

That will let you dry fire practice and not have to worry, which will make you a better shooter. That means happier range days and happier hunts.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

purchase gun belt